IRVING, Texas — The decision has been made and finalized. Nebraska will leave the Big 12 after this season and join the Big Ten Conference for the 2011 season.
But how will the Huskers be treated during their last year in the Big 12? Will fans respect what the program brought to the conference or do grudges remain because of their decision to bolt for greener pastures?
"I don't see any hostility coming from any school," Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller said. "Nebraska has a huge piece of college football tradition that they take with them to the Big Ten. They made a decision that was best for their school, all you can do is respect that."
Said Miller's teammate, Jerrod Johnson: "If you're a college football fan, you have respect for Nebraska and their program, same with Colorado. I think the teams will treat them with respect, but at the same time it's their last go around which makes it a little more special."
That doesn't mean there isn't any remaining animosity towards Nebraska since they left the Big 12 with hard feelings and biting words, which had teams like Baylor, Kansas, Iowa State and Kansas State feeling left out in the cold before Dan Beebe saved the day and the conference. Colorado announced plans to leave for the Pac-10 Conference with barely a notice.
"They wanted to leave," Baylor linebacker Antonio Johnson said. "So I feel they aren't committed to the Big 12, so they're more than welcome to leave."
For teams who have become used to circling Nebraska on their schedule, like Iowa State, this final conference game against the Huskers will bring added emotion.
"Our fans, that's one game they circle on our schedule," Iowa State defensive end Rashawn Parker said. "It's Nebraska coming to Ames for the last time, their last time in the Big 12. It's the last time we can beat Nebraska... everyone wants to beat them and send them off with a loss under their belt. I think everyone in the Big 12 wants to beat Nebraska and Colorado."
Nebraska players are preparing for the worst during their final Big 12 road trips to Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Texas A&M. Hostile crowds, plenty of colorful language.
"I'm pretty sure we are going to hear different things said to us," Nebraska receiver Niles Paul said. "It's just a process you go through, it's up to us to block it out."
Said teammate Pierre Allen: "People hate us on the road, to be honest. I don't know if it is because Nebraska, back in the day, was so dominant, I don't know but people hate us."
Paul, an Omaha, Neb. native, will miss the Big 12 regardless of how the Huskers are treated during his final year of college football and the program's final year in the conference.
When asked if he'll miss the Big 12, Paul said: "Definitely. I grew up in Nebraska, so I've seen the Oklahoma/Nebraska game, the Texas/Nebraska games, I'll definitely miss those games but I'm a Nebraska football player. Wherever they go, I'll be happy to watch."